The New Orleans Pelicans got a little revenge for a bad November 3rd loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, and seemingly the entire roster played a part in the 140-126 win — but none bigger than Julius Randle with 21 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists in a mere 25 minutes of action.
One of the Pelicans had an additional milestone on his mind. All-Galaxy forward Anthony Davis was closing in on 10,000 points, but he wound up falling just short of the necessary 35 points with a still outstanding 29-point, nine-rebound, and four-assist line. As he would be the first to tell you though, earning the impressive 140-126 victory over their division rival was by far the more important priority.
New Orleans got off to a slow start defensively — it’s a theme, seriously — by allowing 39 first quarter points. The Pels were out-rebounded 13-9 in the opening frame as the Spurs were the aggressor early on, and San Antonio was greatly aided by hot-shooting starts from a couple of role players. Former Pelican “Corner Boy” Dante Cunningham knocked down two threes (He finished with 19 points on a perfect 7-7 from the field!) and Bryn Forbes drained all three of his attempts from deep.
Offensively, Anthony Davis couldn’t get anything going early, opening the game 1-6 from the field, but as local fans know, he’s got help around him this season. Jrue Holiday, Julius Randle and E’Twaun Moore combined for 19 points to keep New Orleans within striking distance.
The Beast Awakens
Truthfully, it was only a matter of time before Anthony Davis showed up to dominate LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs as per usual. Davis scorched the the nets with 14 points, sparking a second quarter run by New Orleans that saw them win the frame by a 38-28 margin and enter halftime with a one-point edge.
The combination of Davis heating up and Julius Randle wrecking the Spurs in the paint proved too hard to stop for San Antonio, and it was completely obvious in the second half. New Orleans would shoot 60% from the field in the 3rd quarter including 40% from deep. When the Spurs tried to mount a comeback, my personal lord and savior Nikola Mirotic drained a few crucial threes to end San Antonio’s charge.
The Spurs made a late push in the fourth quarter, but the Pelicans were never truly threatened and closed out San Antonio in style. They absolutely lived large near the rim all night long, outscoring the Spurs 78-58 in points in the paint.
Other Receiving Votes
Far be it from me to leave out the official shooting guard of The Bird Calls Podcast, E’Twaun Moore. Moore has been sensational all season and he’s been an under the radar constant in the stormy unpredictable NBA seas. 3’Twaun scored an uber efficient 24 points on 16 shoots, played solid defense and also dropped four dimes. With every passing game he’s making it harder and harder for Dell Demps to consider trading him in any package.
Jrue Holiday was great again, scoring 21 point and dishing nine dimes. More importantly, he was aggressive, especially from the second quarter on. Holiday controlled the tempo, kept the ball moving, and as usual, set the tone defensively by coming up with a couple of steals and a block.
One of the more interesting developments was Anthony Davis making a concerted effort to facilitate the offense. In the third quarter Davis continuously called for the ball on the in bound or pushed off the glass. The Brow made several point guard like dishes to his teammates who helped him out with constant movement. It will be interesting to see if Davis continues this in future games.
On The Road Again
Away games have not been kind to the Pelicans so far in this young season as a 2-6 road record is good evidence of the disappointment. Alvin Gentry and the Pelicans will have a chance to improve their record away from the Smoothie King Center on the upcoming East coast swing against the 76ers, Knicks and Wizards. ICYMI: New Orleans is a perfect 4-0 against teams east of the Mississippi.
New Orleans faces Philadelphia — Hi Eagles Fans!! — on Wednesday night.